East African countries join Kenyan fake phone clampdown

Pile of cellphonesUganda, Zambia and other East African countries are planning to follow Kenya and switch off counterfeit mobile phones.

Reports of an agreement to shut down counterfeit handsets across the East African Community (EAC) come weeks after Kenyan telecommunications firms blocked 1.5m mobile phones. The region-wide crackdown would stop phones blocked in one country from resurfacing in another.

Uganda and Zambia are leading the way, Newstime Africa reports, with the latter already turning off 2,700 Samsung handsets as part of an ongoing process. An EAC-wide agreement will see other countries take similar actions.

Kenya initiated the movement with its crackdown on fake handsets but has faced resistance. In response to the shutdown traders have begun reprogramming fake mobile handsets with unique identification numbers to trick the system.

“Traders are getting smarter to clear stock. Our systems have identified quite a number since last week, we are working with law enforcers to bring the culprits to book,” Francis Wangusi, director general of the Communication Commission of Kenya, told Standard Media.

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